Before Dascha Polanco scored the part of Dayanara Diaz on "Orange Is the New Black" and become the rule-breaking style icon we worship, she was simply Dash — the confident, flirty Domincana from Brooklyn, New York.
(And we mean that quite literally — earlier this month, Polanco revealed to Vivala that people used to call her "coqueta" when she was younger. "It’s because I’ve always been a coqueta since I was little," Polanco joked. "I don’t know why! It’s just how I come off. I’m not flirting with you – I just come off that way.”)
It was Polanco's "OITNB" role that catapulted her to fame, but here are 20 throwback photos that prove Polanco was always meant to be a superstar.
Polanco was born in the Dominican Republic in 1982.
She's a total '80s baby — let this photo serve as proof.
But she was raised in Brooklyn.
You can take the girl out of the DR, but that bold attitude is forever.
"I was born with it, this face forevah," Polanco joked on Instagram. "Mood: Pero, why?"
Her character on "Orange Is The New Black" is (usually) soft-spoken and calm, but Polanco and her younger siblings were moñitos IRL.
"Three moñitos all day," Polanco wrote, adding the hilarious hashtag #yesplasticcovercouch.
She shared an unbreakable bond with her little brother and sister.
"From the same womb till eternity and beyond," Polanco captioned this snapshot. "Love them."
Polanco and her sister, Jaiey, *definitely* developed their own personal style at a young age.
Also, check out their handsome dad.
"Daddy looking like a stud," Polanco noted, adding the LOL-worthy hashtag #myfatassaintwanttostandup.
Her father always supported and encouraged his baby.
"Papi te amo!" Polanco captioned this throwback collage. "My father, I will always love you. No matter what I always have ur back."
*Begs to join the Polanco squad*
"Cuando mi papi esta en sus sentimientos!" she wrote.
As a teen, Polanco loved to experiment with her hair. She added red streaks...
"Hair is so empowering," Dascha captioned this throwback. "My hair has stories to tell! I miss my curls ... My curls were serious. My mami took good care of it."
...and tried out these incredible curly bangs.
"Stair case chill," Polanco wrote.
Polanco rocked her curls for her yearbook photo.
Ah, those were the days!
(But lemurs were probably her best look)
"I was truly happy but nervous as heck," Polanco recalled.
Polanco's thin brows and acrylic nails were SO adorably '90s.
"With my marble tips!" she wrote, noting that her 17-year-old skin was "looking fab."
There's no denying that Polaco was a true city girl.
Her taste for fearless fashion is a dead giveaway.
Before she was slaying naked dresses on the red carpet, Polanco was wearing white gowns to her school dances.
From white prom dresses to sheer white body suits, Polanco has always said #FuckFlattering.
Polanco had confidence for days.
Don't mess with Dash!
She loved to layer her clothes like a #Boss.
"Yes a leotard...," Polanco joked on Instagram.
And her obsession with crop tops and cutouts started young.
"Self Made Baby," Polanco insisted.
Yes, Dash was born to be a star.
Polanco's undeniable #SelfLovery has radiated since Day One.